Mathematicians. I googled this word and came across a list titles “The 100 greatest Mathematicians of the Past.” The list includes names like Archimedes, Guass, Euler, and Reimann, all names that are often studied and have many concepts names after them. These mathematicians, and others, have made big contributes to the math world and have helped others increase their understanding in different topics. As I continues to look for other pages that talked about mathematicians, I came across a Wikipedia definition that reads, “A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.” Using this definition, it is clear that the list of 100 mathematicians are all mathematicians. But there are many mathematicians in the world that are not on the list. When looking at mathematics in the past, men were the only ones who could get the recognition for their ideas and many times their ideas did not get recognized until they were older.
Even today gender and age can influence what culture says a mathematician is. But I want to challenge that. As a female studying mathematics I see firsthand that mathematicians are everywhere. I see many females in my course that solve many problems and have a deep understanding of many different mathematical concepts. There are female professors that have shaped my view of mathematics and who I would also consider mathematicians. We even studied females who have made contributions to the math world. But not only am I mathematics major, but I am an elementary education major. In many ways I see the children that I get to work with as mathematicians. They are working on problems and using many different strategies to solve the question in front of them. Their knowledge of math is big, and it is growing with every passing day and their work is their studying. We are starting to break the stereotypes of mathematics by just naming more and more people as mathematics.
Calling all my students mathematicians is something that I want to take into my classroom in the near future, but that is not the only thing I want them defined as. Each student is unique with different gifts that I want celebrated and different talents I want to be encouraged. There are some students who will understand mathematic ideas quicker and others who will grasp language, science, or social study standards easier. I want my students to be mathematician, scientists, and historians. But more importantly I want them to be them, just full of confidence in the subjects that they are learning.